Regaining Perspective

So much depends on perspective. As Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But most of all, it was a blessed time.

I spent a whole morning watching butterflies. Yes, I did. An entire August morning watching monarchs emerge from their chrysallises and explore the outdoors. The old me would have paused long enough to take half a dozen pictures and then run back inside to start another project. But I didn’t. And we had a wonderful time.

That memory helps me regain the proper perspective.

It’s so easy to look back on the past year and think of all the negatives–missed trips, cancelled play dates, half-done projects, and forgotten dreams. All the things we planned to do and never did. And all the things we never planned to do, but did anyway–such as brain surgery.

But what if I flip that around? We aren’t told to rejoice just in the happy times, but rather to “give thanks in everything” (I Thess. 5:18). And that means the negative things, too.

And do you know what? We may have had to cancel our vacation, but we did a couple of fun day trips to Pittsburgh instead. We missed out on play dates and field trips, but we got lots of extra time with Daddy. I accomplished absolutely nothing on my summer to-do list, but I got many dates with my husband (after doctor appointments). We couldn’t travel, but we enjoyed special visits from loved ones who came to help after my brain surgery. And the slower pace of life made it possible for us to enjoy things we ordinarily would have rushed past–like a beautiful August morning, monarch butterflies, and zinnias.

So maybe our year wasn’t such a failure after all. It was different than anything we’d planned. It was unbelievably hard. But it was also wonderfully good. We were shown so much love and grace. We realized we are part of an amazing church and have wonderful friends and family. We experienced the blessing of being part of God’s universal church, too, as believers across denominations and state lines prayed for us and shared with us.

So much depends on perspective. As Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But most of all, it was a blessed time.

Our “twin” monarch butterflies, August 2019.